Some of you may remember that I did a pregnancy workout Q&A a while back, and as I get later into pregnancy I have gotten more and more questions about what fitness during pregnancy looks like for me. Of course the first step you want to take when exercising during pregnancy is making sure that your doctor clears you for working out.
Unless you have medical complications, most doctors will not only allow you to workout but encourage it! As I’ve been doing Youtube workout videos, taking Pure Barre and Empower, working out with Homefit, walking in our neighborhood and other fitness activities, here’s some of the most useful pregnancy modifications I’ve found so far.
Pregnancy Workout Modifications:
- Listen to Your Body: This should come as no surprise, but make sure you listen to your body. It will tell you when something is just too much. Every pregnancy is different too…with my first I had to quit running in the first trimester because it felt like a bowling ball was going to rip through my stomach at the bottom, but this time I was able to alternate running and walking without much difficulty until third trimester and many women can run throughout their entire pregnancy. If your regular workouts become too much, try out water aerobics (the weightlessness feels so good!), walking or prenatal yoga! Your doctor can guide you throughout your pregnancy as far as what he sees best for you and your baby based on your symptoms or what is working for YOU.
- Planks: Whether you are doing a straight arm plank, a forearm plank or a side plank, you can always modify by coming to your knees or placing your hands on an elevated surface so you can work at an incline. Whenever you attempt to do a plank or forearm plank, notice if your belly is “coning” or looking like it is pulling downward from the center towards the ground. If this is the case, you should immediately stop as you are putting yourself at risk for diastasis recti. Draw your belly in to create a neutral spine and make sure that you can pull in from your deep core muscles, and if not save the planks for after pregnancy!
- Avoid lying on your back (or on your belly): After the first trimester, you want to avoid lying on your back. Some women find that even in the first trimester, this doesn’t feel right. When we do core work at Pure Barre on the ground, I’ll either come to a seated position and round back an inch and up and inch or tuck from my lower abdominal wall or prop on my elbows and bend my knees instead of lying on my back and doing something like a scissor switch with my legs.
- Balance: Obviously as your bump expands, your center of gravity is compromised so make sure that you are aware of this no matter what kind of exercise you do. If you start to feel too off-balance with your current workout routine, find something different that won’t put you at risk. We do a lot of one-legged work at Pure Barre so a lot of times I’ll make sure the planted foot is flat instead of on a tip toe or instead of lifting a leg, I’ll stay firmly rooted through both feet into the ground modifying as I need to. My doctor told me with my first pregnancy that because my balance was compromised, she’d recommend I quit tennis after the first trimester. If you do a sport like biking, consider changing to a stationary bike instead.
- Go at Your Own Pace: Many times now during a workout that I used to do full-out, I have to take breaks and that’s ok. Some parts of Pure Barre classes I now skip or go do something else during core work or if I planned to walk 3 miles and feel too hot or winded, I’ll instead do half that amount. I also no longer walk during the heat of the day because it’s just too much so I try to get out in the morning or later in the evening to walk with Leyton so I can not get overheated.
- Consider belly support: You may notice lower back pain after running or other exercise or just in general. If that’s the case, a belly support band or workout tank may help relieve some of the pressure that your growing bump is placing on your lower back. My chiropractor recommended I think about clothes with belly support in them recently.
- HYDRATE: As you’ve noticed during the water challenge we’ve talked about many benefits of staying hydrated whether you are pregnant or not. My doctor recommended I drink plenty of water before exercising to minimize the chance of round ligament pain happening. You want to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout and make sure you aren’t sweating too much.
Photos: Eric and Jamie Photo
In case you missed week 1 or 2 of our water challenge, don’t forget to check out those posts below. Molly from Stilettos & Diapers & Jessica from Happily Hughes are joining me again for this week’s water challenge so make sure to check out their posts as well!
- Week 1 of our Water Challenge with FREE PRINTABLE WATER INTAKE TRACKER
- Week 2 of our Water Challenge + some additional mental challenges as well
Water Challenge Week 3 with Pregnancy Workout Modifications:
Day 1: Drink 8 cups of water + Write out your workout schedule for the week in your calendar or iphone calendar and set a reminder
Day 2: Drink 8 cups of water + Go on a 30 minute walk
Day 3: Drink 8 cups of water + search for a 20-30 minute workout video to do on Youtube (you can search for your specific trimester if you are pregnant!)
Day 4: Drink 8 cups of water + Write down a few things you are thankful for
Day 5: Drink 8 cups of water + Go to bed early
Day 6: Drink 8 cups of water + try to get in a day of rest…this looks different for everyone. Perhaps it means you sleep in or take a nap or just enjoy an hour by yourself at the pool. Do something for you that is restful though!
Day 7: Drink 8 cups of water + Reach out to someone you know and encourage them or write a note of encouragement
Shop the water challenge week 3 & pregnancy workout modifications post!